By Alexandra Willis
For the last two weeks, the eyes of the sporting world, and non-sporting in some cases, have centered on a very unique plot of land in the South West area of London, known as Wimbledon SW19. That’s where the All England Club, Wimbledon, a private members’ tennis club, opened its gates and grass courts once again to the world’s best tennis players and the public for The Championships, the oldest of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments.
Thirty-eight thousand, five hundred people occupy the grounds at any one time, with the daily attendance rising above that as people come and go throughout the day. But it’s easy to forget that the majority of Wimbledon fans get their Championships fix from outside of SW19, and many of them have never been fortunate enough to make it through the turnstiles.
Thus, for those who can’t be at The Championships in person, our objective continues to be to replicate the Wimbledon experience for fans through our digital channels and to make Wimbledon’s digital platforms the next best thing to being here.
From Wimbledon.com to our mobile website, our iPhone, Android and iPad apps, our live radio and online video services, and, of course, the ever-growing goliath that is social media, we aim to offer Wimbledon fans a unique view of The Championships, while still providing them with the information they crave.
The new iPad app, an immersive rich media experience, is the perfect example. Featuring live scoring, complete draws, player profiles and the order of play, the app also provides a 360-degree video of the grounds, 360-degree panoramic photography of some of Wimbledon’s most iconic sights, both pre-tournament and during, and fly-over footage of the courts in preparation. Users can navigate the app using a traditional menu, or by using an aerial photograph of the grounds, which they can rotate, pinch and zoom, and tap into the action taking place on each court.
Social media, meanwhile, continues to grow as the method of choice for fans to interact with matches. Through our partnership with IBM, we have sought to harness this interaction by adding improved social media analysis to SlamTracker. Take Sergiy Stakhovsky’s shocking victory last Wednesday over the defending champion, Roger Federer, for example. As Stakhovsky got a foothold in the second set of the match, interest on Twitter grew, reaching heights of nearly 2,500 tweets in a ten minute period at the opening of the third set. As it became clear that we might have an upset on our hands interest on Twitter surged, reaching over 4,500 tweets in the ten-minute period around the close of the third set, and peaking at nearly 1,000 tweets per minute in the fourth.
As you might imagine, all of this information and conversation adds up to quite an amount of data, all of which passes over IBM’s SmartCloud servers during the two weeks of The Championships. The more we can harness this data and learn from it, the more able we are to improve the way our fans can interact with Wimbledon wherever they are in the world.
Follow Alexandra at on Twitter @alex_willis and follow The Championships at twitter.com/Wimbledon and Facebook.com/Wimbledon.